More Pencils, More Books for the Horse Lake Teacher – 100 Mile House Free Press

Leslie Dickson always knew she would be a teacher.

It was in the family: his father was a teacher, then principal, then assistant superintendent. It was inevitable that she would follow in his footsteps.

“I remember in kindergarten lining up all my stuff and teaching them,” Dickson, 60, said.

That early experience led her to a 38-year teaching career that began in Abbotsford in 1984 and ended this week at Horse Lake Elementary. The Grade 1 teacher acknowledges that leaving the classroom will not be easy.

“It’s literally my passion, so I will miss the kids first and foremost,” Dickson said.

“Parents, my staff, my colleagues. All the excitement, the hugs, the affirmations every day – they tell me every day how much they love me.

Dickson spent nine years teaching in Abbotsford before she and her husband moved to the Cariboo. She taught at 70 Mile Elementary for nine years before that school closed and then transferred to various schools in the district.

She has held two positions at Horse Lake Elementary, where she has spent the past 10 years.

“It’s my last school,” she said. “It’s an amazing school.”

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Most of his classroom years were spent teaching split classes. It was hard to stick to the schedule, Dickson said, “but you can overlap a lot and the older ones are such good pals for the little ones.”

When she was placed in a 1st grade class, she missed having the different grades together. But six-year-olds have become her favorites to teach, she said.

This is because they arrive on the first day a little scared and barely able to print their name, and by the end of the year, “they read, write, do double-digit calculations, count money – it’s amazing.

“It’s pure magic what happens in a room,” Dickson said. “I think so. You can close your door and the magic happens. Every moment is so heartwarming and memorable and life changing.

Dickson said she decided to retire early after the summer wildfires, which surrounded their ranch at 83 Mile, and took a toll on her, both physically and emotionally. She and her family have spent months working to make sure the wildfires don’t destroy their ranch.

“We literally fought him all summer. There was no rest,” she said.

Dickson didn’t want to leave the school, saying she had to be there for her students. But during spring break this year, she realized she was also needed at home. Her husband works alone on their ranch, caring for 200 head of cattle. She also has a new grandson, born in September, and she wants to spend more time with him.

“It really pushed me. I really want to be there for him,” Dickson said. “My priorities have changed. A big part of me is here and now I need to spend more time with my grandson. , my family, my cows…”

She acknowledges that her retirement is bittersweet.

“My brain knows it’s time, I’m needed in other places in my life,” she said. “My brain knows it, but my heart is so with the kids. I can barely talk about it.

“It’s been a lifetime of love and pure joy.”
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